Category: Inspiration


Spring always reminds me of resurrection

As winter approaches, it seems like the world (well, at least Michigan) is a darker place – all the plants wither, lose their leaves and color, and some die. A cold spell sweeps the land for many months. It’s dark, cold, and can be very depressing.

Then, when all seems lost, a glimmer of hope arrives as the snow melts and blue irises begin peeking out of the cold dirt. These hopeful flowers seem to inspire other plants to sprout up, and soon bright green vegetation is emerging exponentially from the earth. The air becomes fragrant with the smell of the blossoms and blooming trees, birds chirp through the air, and small animals run around rambunctiously after their long winter naps. What was dead has now come back to life.

Like the cycles of death and resurrection in the seasons, we experience these patterns in our own lives as Christians. Consider what the following verses have to say about this pattern.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5)

This year, as spring arrives once again, remember that the beauty of this season is also reflected in you. Surrendering all to God and dying to oneself results in a beautiful resurrection and restoration that only God can bring about. It is my prayer that your life will be like the first blue irises of spring – peeking out of the soil into a world that needs hope, a fresh start, resurrection – a world that needs spring.


I was hooked before I even began reading – a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life — this was something I had to read! After reading the heart-wrenching first chapter, I couldn’t stop reading. Abby Johnson begins the book with the climax of the story – the moment she decided she was quite literally on the wrong side of the fence. She describes the horror of watching an ultrasound guided abortion for the first time and how it changed everything. She describes what was going through her mind at that crucial moment,

“How had it come to this? How had I let this happen? I had invested myself, my heart, my career in Planned Parenthood because I cared about women in crisis. And now I faced a crisis of my own. Looking back now on that late September day of 2009, I realize how wise God is for not revealing our future to us. Had I known then the firestorm I was about to endure, I might not have had the courage to move forward. As it was, since I didn’t know, I wasn’t yet looking for courage. I was, however, looking to understand how I found myself in this place—living a lie, spreading a lie, and hurting the very women I so wanted to help. And I desperately needed to know what to do next.”unplanned-by-abby-johnsonAbby goes on to describe her conservative upbringing and how she was recruited by Planned Parenthood as an intern while in College. She was somewhat conflicted but very passionate about helping women in crisis. Volunteering turned to getting a job in the clinic and she eventually became the director of the clinic she used to volunteer in. During the whole story, she talks about the “Coalition for Life” sidewalk counselors that stood outside the fence and how their peaceful demeanor eventually helped win her over.

Unplanned: a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation. Abby’s unique vantage point from both sides of the abortion clinic property line shines light and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. (from the website)

One thing I struggle to understand is how so many people in our culture believe Planned Parenthood and even abortion to be helpful to women. I am bewildered how so many people value a woman’s choice and convenience over the human life growing inside the womb. Reading this book has helped me understand that a lot of people sincerely care about women but are deceived and believe lies. It has reminded me that I need to be gracious and prayerful as I stand up for the truth. God’s truth will prevail in the end, but we must be faithful to live out truth in our lives.

Ten Ways to Love


Ten Ways to Love

Here’s a little Valentine’s Day inspiration for you all. Continue to seek out new ways to “love one another” and remember the words of C.S. Lewis, “Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”

Love in Christ,

Rachel Joy

Only In the Darkness…

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day on monday, I designed these quotes of his for a display. These are some of my favorites. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone!mlkquote2   mlkquote4 mlkquote5mlkquote3

Into Arabia


For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. (Galations 1:13-18, emphasis added)

It is interesting to note that, after his conversion, Paul did not immediately begin his ministry. After experiencing the Lord in such a mighty way, one would expect Paul to immediately begin to preach the gospel. Instead, he goes away into Arabia – the desert!

Wait – this sounds familiar! Didn’t Moses spend 4o years in the desert before helping Israel? John the Baptist spent years in the desert, and Jesus was even tempted and tried for 40 days in the desert.

Perhaps all this time in the desert was meant as a time of preparation. This time where seemingly nothing was happening in Paul’s life was an immensely important time in Paul’s ministry. This was a time of abiding, of simply BEing with God, rather than DOing. I’m sure Paul felt tremendously weak in the desert. After years of being zealous for what he thought was right, years of persecuting the church and trying to keep the law, Paul spent three years in the desert with God. He’d had a conversion experience, but he was still a baby in his faith. The author of a majority of the New Testament epistles needed time to unlearn the “traditions of his fathers” and learn to see the world through new eyes. He needed to be transformed and changed by God. It was in the desert that he learned how incredibly weak he was as a man, but it was during this time that he saw a glimpse of Christ’s power in his weakness.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I hope and pray that you will be encouraged when it feels like you’re in a desert time in your life. Those times are not meaningless nor unfruitful. God is doing a work IN you! Abide in Christ during those times. Continue to cry out to Him in prayer and seek his face through reading His Word and spending time with other believers.

May God be with you as you journey into Arabia.



This is just a vision. A vision stirred by the love in our hearts for the fatherless and motherless; for those who do not have a roof over their heads or a family to call their own; for the street kids in Bolivia, among other places, who sniff glue to cope with life; for the children at risk of exploitation and for those already exploited—whether it be child labor, child trafficking, physical abuse, or other forms; and even for those children who are recruited to exploit other children. This is a vision that one day—hopefully soon, we can actually do something to help these children, to be vessels of protection and refuge for them, sharing the love of Christ with them, and helping them experience the joy that could only come from knowing Christ. Click here to read more about this vision!



“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph 5:11).

Expose. Make known. Convince.

The works of darkness are not to be ignored among God’s holy people.

This means prayer, honesty, open eyes, discernment. It means having clear boundaries in my interactions. It means being clear, raw and honest, persistent, and speaking God’s truths consistently. It means not only speaking, but living out integrity. It means being honest about my failings, but remembering God’s victory through it all.

Here I am, Lord – willing and ready to share your truth. How do I convince someone they are living in the midst of deep darkness when they still believe they are living in the light? How do I speak when my voice is one that is not wanted to be heard?

Speak anyway. It is I who will speak through you. My Spirit will convince them of these things… in My time. It is not up to you to rescue anyone out of the darkness. That is My job. I AM – who created the universe, who knows all and sees all. Give them up to My care. Be patient, My child. And be assured that I have made known to them the truth. Their hardness of hearts is preventing them from surrendering to My truth right now, but My Spirit is at work still. So, speak anyway. I will give you My words. I will expose you in order to expose them. Do not be afraid of exposure. From the darkness and ashes of your former life, I have brought forth a blooming flower, fragrant with the light of new life. You are a child of the light. Speak anyway.



Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:1-14)

The Foolish…

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)

Oh, how these words ring true for me! The past few days I have been attempting to memorize Romans and the words in it remind me how foolish I am, how depraved, how weak, and how desperately lost I am without the saving power of Jesus Christ in my life. They remind me that I can NOT boast in myself, but only in the Lord. Yes, God has worked in me and has been changing me, but glory to God, that has nothing to do with my power OR even my will – but it is by God’s power and according to HIS will.

FOOLISH: I used to tell God that I couldn’t live without someone; I thought I could change myself; I tried to find loop-holes in the Word of God; I disobeyed my parents; And I sought the love and approval of man before God. [Because I did not see fit to acknowledge God (Rom. 1:28), He gave me up to dishonorable passions (1:26), to impurity (1:24), to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (1:28) – in other words, He let me do what I wanted and it ruined me. But then he started working in me, breaking me, disciplining me for His glory because He loves me and has freed me from my sins by his blood (Rev. 1:5).] And though I am still foolish, God has revealed to me truth thought His Word – and in a way, I shame those who believe themselves to be wise – those who deny God’s existence and His power. I am proof of His existence and one of the countless examples of how God’s power changes people.

WEAK: The effects of my sin left me broken, lonely, depressed, despised, worthless – but it was what I wanted, right? No prayer I prayed or willpower I put into changing could ever accomplish anything. But God used my sorrow and brokenness to change me and to form me into a vessel of mercy he could use. “When God has a plan for an individual, He often begins with discipline in the form of affliction and sorrow. Just as a good farmer cuts down the trees and clears the land before planting, God cuts down our trees of pleasure and pride, that our hearts may be plowed, broken, raked, and prepared to receive the good seed of the Word.” (C.H. Spurgeon). I am thankful that God brought the sins in my life to light, those that I had tried so hard to keep in the darkness. I am glad he brought me so low that I had no choice but to fall on my knees. My flesh is still very weak, but that does not matter because “When I am weak, He is strong” (1 Cor. 4:10). Even Paul struggled with his weaknesses. He begged God multiple times to remove “the thorn in his flesh,” possibly a physical affliction. But God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

LOW and DESPISED: I have definitely been low and despised, but I know that if I live for God, there is more to come. Especially if I am a TRUE Christian and live by what the Bible says, I know I will be despised and hated, even by some who claim to be Christians. But the more low and despised I am, the more God’s glory will be shown in me.

Therefore, because I am a fool, weak, low, and despised… I have nothing left to boast in other than my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and rightfully so. To all of you Christians who boast in yourselves, in your ministries, in numbers and figures of “souls saved”, in your successes, in anything other than the Lord, Shame on you. Because nothing succeeds without the Lord, and no one is saved unless God saves them, and you… well, YOU are less than NOTHING without Him. We live in an age where the god of self reigns supreme, where the creature is worshiped and served rather than the creator (Rom. 1:25), where we are encouraged to be empowered and believe in ourselves, and where so many people deny God the credit he deserves. We need to remember that we are nothing without God and that nothing happens because of our power, but because of HIS.

“To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Phil. 4:20).